Goats made good story in 1955

Published 4:59 pm Wednesday, February 9, 2005

By Staff
I thought I would take another break this week and get back to the Brewton family next week.
The other day I was looking in a volume of back issues for the feature that we run called, "Looking Back" and found a funny article that I thought I would share with you.
In the issue of Thursday, Feb. 3, 1955 the matter came up on a way to advertise the upcoming fund drive for the Red Cross.
Murray Haigler, chairman of the 1955 fund drive, decided that he did not want to drag the campaign out through the whole month of March. Goats, he decided, would provide the incentive to get the job done in a hurry.
Rev. James Zellner, the publicity chairman of the drive, assisted Haigler with the plan of placing two billy goats in downtown Brewton to provide the "scent" as well as the cents in the drive.
On the afternoon of Feb. 28, two billy goats were to be installed in pens downtown. One was to go at the intersection of St. Joseph Street and Belleville Avenue. The other was to be at the Robbins and McGowin store where Mildred Street intersects "St. Ironette Street." (That one is new to me).
But beginning March 1, there would be no more baths for the goats. They would live high, according to Zellner, but that 'nature would take its course.'
The slogan for the fund drive (which had a goal of $4555) was "Let's Get the Goats Out of Town."
Zellner figured that it would provide an incentive for the drive to get over in a hurry while providing some good clean fun. The deadline to send the goats back home was March 4.
The next issue of The Brewton Standard on Feb. 10, 1955, there was another article about he goats. Apparently Rev. Zellner claimed to have talked with the goats in question and asked them what they thought about being used in the upcoming campaign. According to Zellner, the goats discussed the usefulness of the Red Cross and what would happen to any monies given. It was quite interesting and too long to reprint here. There was a promise of another article next week which carried some of the same sorts of sentiments from the goats.
In an article in The Brewton Standard on Feb. 28, it was announced that a parade would take place in downtown Brewton to kick off the drive.
Haigler stated that the goats would be provided with umbrellas in case of rain but the spectators would be on their own.
Apparently, by this time, people were also writing letters to the editor about using the goats. One letter to the editor on Feb. 28 was very critical of the use of the goats.
Sure enough, in the next issue of the paper, the 'goats' had been escorted downtown by two small boys and instead of being real goats, they were made of paper.
As of March 10, the goal of $4555 was in sight as reported in the paper, although the goats were still downtown Brewton. In the issue of March 17, the goal had been reached so I suppose the whole publicity stunt worked pretty well.
Too bad there is not as much creativity and fun in the fund drives of today. One thing about it, it worked. The Red Cross got more than they had planned and the story was kept on the front page of the newspaper every week because of the humor of the publicity.